Refugee Rights Campaign. Photo: Mary Finch
Refugee Rights Campaign. Photo: Mary Finch

Callum Joyce, Oxford Socialist Party

Over 400 children seeking asylum in the UK have gone missing from government-run hotels used to house incoming refugees, since 2021. Over 200 of the missing children have still not been located. Refugees are often targeted for kidnapping by criminal gangs, or taken to work off the debts they owe to human traffickers.

Sadly, that a scandal like this has been allowed to happen is not surprising. Over a decade of Tory cuts has pushed social care and housing services to breaking point, unable to provide adequate support and safeguarding for those who need them most.

In an attempt to distract from the criminal neglect of public services, and a refusal to do anything that threatens the profit margins of their mates in big business, the Tories use anti-refugee rhetoric, attempting to stir up division, trying to pit working-class people in competition with each other for jobs, homes and services.

The Tories are responsible for neglecting these children’s safety. Labour councils that have meekly passed on Tory austerity – running down social care services and failing to build the council homes needed, share in responsibility too.

The collective wealth of UK billionaires now stands at over £653 billion. Even a fraction of that money could be used to fully fund the NHS, invest properly in social services, provide free school meals, and fund a mass programme of council house building to provide high-quality, affordable housing.

Rather than listening to more government excuses about a ‘lack of money’, we need to organise to take control of the resources that exist and put them to use in the interests of the working-class majority. That means building a united movement of the working class to fight for jobs, homes and services for all.